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For Syrian refugees in Turkey, agriculture is hope

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Turkey
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FAO
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Thirty Syrian workers start new jobs today at the Dağcıoğlu Baharat red pepper production factory in Kahramanmaraş, Turkey. They were hired by the factory’s owner, Mehmet Dağcı, at the conclusion of a job fair in Kilis in mid-March.

The job fair was part of a project implemented by FAO and Turkey’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and funded by the Government of Japan. The “Resilience Building via Increased Livelihoods Opportunities and Strengthened Social Cohesion for Syrian Refugees and Host Communities” project provides Syrian refugees and Turkish citizens in host communities with vocational training to help them obtain new jobs and income sources in the agrifood sector.

Many Syrian refugees in Turkey face economic difficulties such as irregular income and high living costs. They try to cope with these difficulties by working in low-skilled and low-paid jobs. The training provided under this project helps the refugees improve their skills in the agrifood sector and in the Turkish language, enabling them to reach new and longer-term job opportunities.

The 30 people who began work today will continue at the pepper factory for six months. An additional 30 Syrians will begin three months of work for the factory in August in the pepper fields. In all, 250 beneficiaries – some Syrian refugees and others members of the host communities – were trained in food and agricultural production in Şanlıurfa and Kilis during the project.

In the Şanlıurfa region, 125 beneficiaries were trained on local food production and livestock and herd management. In Kilis, 100 beneficiaries received trainings on the production of vegetables, pistachios and olives, provided by the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry of Kilis. Kilis municipality also provided trainings on beekeeping to 25 beneficiaries. All of the trainees received certificates after the completion of the programme to provide evidence of their newly developed skills.

At the job fair, 82 people trained in the production of vegetables, pistachios and olives met with employers and representatives of the private sector. During the event, the employers made a promise to hire more than 27 percent of the trainees. The local producers who participated indicated that these events are useful platforms for both employers and employees and help to fulfil demands for workers.